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CarolinaMamma

Specialty Restaurant Advice Needed

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So, it’s been about three and a half years since I’ve eaten in NCL specialty restaurants, and based what I have been reading here, it seems the quality may have gone down now that specialty dining is a perk that is included for many bookings. It’s certainly harder to get reservations! I’m also reading about upcharges for shrimp cocktail, two tiny spears of broccoli served as a side at Cagney’s, and limits on what you can order. So, questions:

 

1. What are you allowed to order that’s “included” in the dining package? Can you order more than one app or side? I’m not looking to be a pig and take advantage of the system, but I don’t eat desserts, bread, potatoes, rice, etc. and I generally stick to vegetables and protein. (I’m a recovering diabetic and have to eat very low-carb to keep my blood sugar under control without medications) Could I get two veggie sides at Cagney’s? Could I get 3 appetizers and no entree? Just wondering how much flexibility there is when using the dining package and whether they spell that out for you. I’d prefer to avoid any awkwardness when we order, and to tell my kids beforehand if there are any restrictions. I don’t really want to pay $5 for 3 shrimp when we eat shrimp all the time at home. 

 

2. Have any of the restaurants gone severely downhill in the last few years? We booked the following, and I’m wondering if I should change any reservations:

Ocean Blue 1 night

Teppanyaki 1 night (it was all that was available that night, and at 5:00!)

Le Bistro 1 night

Moderno 2 nights

Cagney’s 1 night

Cirque Dreams 1 night

We didn’t book La Cucina because I was not impressed with it on our last cruise, plus my whole not eating carbs thing rules out a lot of the choices. 

Wondering if I should change Cagney’s to another night in Le Bistro or Ocean Blue, based on what I have been reading here on cruise critic. 

 

3. What is the deal with Wasabi and the raw bar? I seem to remember last time we had the unlimited dining package, which I don’t think exists anymore, and we just had to pay a small up charge to eat at Wasabi. If we have the 7-meal dining package, would eating there count as using one of our 7 meals? How are the prices there if you just eat a la carte? Anyone have menus? I love me some good sashimi.

 

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On 3/26/2019 at 11:45 AM, CarolinaMamma said:

So, it’s been about three and a half years since I’ve eaten in NCL specialty restaurants, and based what I have been reading here, it seems the quality may have gone down now that specialty dining is a perk that is included for many bookings. It’s certainly harder to get reservations! I’m also reading about upcharges for shrimp cocktail, two tiny spears of broccoli served as a side at Cagney’s, and limits on what you can order. So, questions:

 

1. What are you allowed to order that’s “included” in the dining package? Can you order more than one app or side? I’m not looking to be a pig and take advantage of the system, but I don’t eat desserts, bread, potatoes, rice, etc. and I generally stick to vegetables and protein. (I’m a recovering diabetic and have to eat very low-carb to keep my blood sugar under control without medications) Could I get two veggie sides at Cagney’s? Could I get 3 appetizers and no entree? Just wondering how much flexibility there is when using the dining package and whether they spell that out for you. I’d prefer to avoid any awkwardness when we order, and to tell my kids beforehand if there are any restrictions. I don’t really want to pay $5 for 3 shrimp when we eat shrimp all the time at home. 

 

2. Have any of the restaurants gone severely downhill in the last few years? We booked the following, and I’m wondering if I should change any reservations:

Ocean Blue 1 night

Teppanyaki 1 night (it was all that was available that night, and at 5:00!)

Le Bistro 1 night

Moderno 2 nights

Cagney’s 1 night

Cirque Dreams 1 night

We didn’t book La Cucina because I was not impressed with it on our last cruise, plus my whole not eating carbs thing rules out a lot of the choices. 

Wondering if I should change Cagney’s to another night in Le Bistro or Ocean Blue, based on what I have been reading here on cruise critic. 

 

3. What is the deal with Wasabi and the raw bar? I seem to remember last time we had the unlimited dining package, which I don’t think exists anymore, and we just had to pay a small up charge to eat at Wasabi. If we have the 7-meal dining package, would eating there count as using one of our 7 meals? How are the prices there if you just eat a la carte? Anyone have menus? I love me some good sashimi.

 

Great Questions!  I am hoping to bump this up and get some replies.  We don't cruise often and this specialty dining is new to us.  We eat sushi once a week at home, so I am extremely interested to hear how Wasabi works with the dining plan.  

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I suggest beginning on the NCL website for FAQs and the T&Cs..... 

 

You're allowed unlimited apps, sides, desserts and one entrée (if you want another there is a charge)..... meals cannot be pooled together / shared (if you want all sides and apps without an entrée and your dining partner wants two entrées then you just order the entrée and give it to them upon delivery - less hassle)..... If you have the Specialty Dining and your dining partner does not (ala carte) then make sure you don't share.

 

https://www.ncl.com/specialty-dining-package/faq

 

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Ocean Blue 1 night  no idea

Teppanyaki 1 night (it was all that was available that night, and at 5:00!)  nice time standard order of hibachi

Le Bistro 1 night  unlimited app desserts one entree

Moderno 2 nights just eat too much food

Cagney’s 1 night unlimted app desserts one entree

Cirque Dreams 1 night  no idea

 

hope this helps

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8 minutes ago, shout19661966 said:

 

 

 

Ocean Blue 1 night  no idea

Teppanyaki 1 night (it was all that was available that night, and at 5:00!)  nice time standard order of hibachi

Le Bistro 1 night  unlimited app desserts one entree

Moderno 2 nights just eat too much food

Cagney’s 1 night unlimted app desserts one entree

Cirque Dreams 1 night  no idea

 

hope this helps

 Wow. We just got off the Sun  yesterday. When we dined in Cagneys, we were told one appetizer, one entrée and one dessert. When we dined in the French restaurant the next night, we were told one soup, one salad and one entree and one dessert. Sure would like to know if someone gave us incorrect information. This was the waiter telling us, by the way. We would not dine in either restaurant again. Teppan-Yaki, on the other hand, was wonderful. 

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9 minutes ago, ithaca gal said:

 Wow. We just got off the Sun  yesterday. When we dined in Cagneys, we were told one appetizer, one entrée and one dessert. When we dined in the French restaurant the next night, we were told one soup, one salad and one entree and one dessert. Sure would like to know if someone gave us incorrect information. This was the waiter telling us, by the way. We would not dine in either restaurant again. Teppan-Yaki, on the other hand, was wonderful. 

The T&Cs clearly say that you are limited to one entree...... zero mention of any limits to apps, sides and desserts thus there is no limit. 

 

Next time, print out the T&Cs and ask them to point out where the limit is mentioned.  I've never had an issue getting multiple sides when I point this out. 

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Don't recommend two nights at Moderno.  Salad bar has interesting items.  Meats are second rate.

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1 hour ago, esm54687 said:

The T&Cs clearly say that you are limited to one entree...... zero mention of any limits to apps, sides and desserts thus there is no limit. 

 

Next time, print out the T&Cs and ask them to point out where the limit is mentioned.  I've never had an issue getting multiple sides when I point this out. 

What are the T&Cs?

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1 hour ago, Elcruzer said:

What are the T&Cs?

Terms & Conditions......

 

If you follow the link in my post #3, you will see them at the bottom

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Posted (edited)

to the original poster. Go on the cruise go to every dinner and order anything  you want. If they give you a hard time ask for the Manager of each place and see what they say. Bottom line enjoy yourself and do not worry, most of the wait staff just want to make your night a good time and not bother you at all. 

 

 

Edited by shout19661966

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49 minutes ago, shout19661966 said:

to the original poster. Go on the cruise go to every dinner and order anything  you want. If they give you a hard time ask for the Manager of each place and see what they say. Bottom line enjoy yourself and do not worry, most of the wait staff just want to make your night a good time and not bother you at all. 

 

 

And yet,  the waiters in both restaurants told us immediately that we could order ONE appetizer and ONE dessert. 

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We’ve done Teppanyaki on two different ships in the past two years, and both times it was very good. We did Cirque Dreams recently, and the food was nothing special. But Cirque is really all about the entertainment , not the food, and despite the additional up charge, the entertainment was definitely worth it.  Two members of our family eat at Ocean Blu on the last night of a cruise and were pretty disappointed— portions were unusually tiny portions— they suspected this was because they were running out of food. 

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It's annoying because the "rules" are different at every restaurant, even varying on the SAME ship. 

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On 3/26/2019 at 10:45 AM, CarolinaMamma said:

So, it’s been about three and a half years since I’ve eaten in NCL specialty restaurants, and based what I have been reading here, it seems the quality may have gone down now that specialty dining is a perk that is included for many bookings. It’s certainly harder to get reservations! I’m also reading about upcharges for shrimp cocktail, two tiny spears of broccoli served as a side at Cagney’s, and limits on what you can order. So, questions:

 

1. What are you allowed to order that’s “included” in the dining package? Can you order more than one app or side? I’m not looking to be a pig and take advantage of the system, but I don’t eat desserts, bread, potatoes, rice, etc. and I generally stick to vegetables and protein. (I’m a recovering diabetic and have to eat very low-carb to keep my blood sugar under control without medications) Could I get two veggie sides at Cagney’s? Could I get 3 appetizers and no entree? Just wondering how much flexibility there is when using the dining package and whether they spell that out for you. I’d prefer to avoid any awkwardness when we order, and to tell my kids beforehand if there are any restrictions. I don’t really want to pay $5 for 3 shrimp when we eat shrimp all the time at home. 

 

2. Have any of the restaurants gone severely downhill in the last few years? We booked the following, and I’m wondering if I should change any reservations:

Ocean Blue 1 night

Teppanyaki 1 night (it was all that was available that night, and at 5:00!)

Le Bistro 1 night

Moderno 2 nights

Cagney’s 1 night

Cirque Dreams 1 night

We didn’t book La Cucina because I was not impressed with it on our last cruise, plus my whole not eating carbs thing rules out a lot of the choices. 

Wondering if I should change Cagney’s to another night in Le Bistro or Ocean Blue, based on what I have been reading here on cruise critic. 

 

3. What is the deal with Wasabi and the raw bar? I seem to remember last time we had the unlimited dining package, which I don’t think exists anymore, and we just had to pay a small up charge to eat at Wasabi. If we have the 7-meal dining package, would eating there count as using one of our 7 meals? How are the prices there if you just eat a la carte? Anyone have menus? I love me some good sashimi.

 

As for ordering 3 sides and no entree, you probably could but you would certainly be hungry afterwards. 

the restaurants you picked sound just fine; as for the food going down hill, remember people love to post negatives and rarely post positives, so don't take what you read here too seriously. That does not mean everyone who has had bad experiences are not telling the truth, but some will over exaggerate as we all know. Not to mention food is subjective. I will say the size of the entrees and sides have gotten a bit smaller. That probably has to do with so much wasted food. 

Can't help you when it comes to sashimi. 

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12 hours ago, ithaca gal said:

And yet,  the waiters in both restaurants told us immediately that we could order ONE appetizer and ONE dessert. 

It seems that they do sometimes say that.

 

The solution is just to order multiples anyway. They almost certainly wouldn’t have actually charged you.

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16 hours ago, ithaca gal said:

And yet,  the waiters in both restaurants told us immediately that we could order ONE appetizer and ONE dessert. 

Yep, you sit down, they spout out limits, and might then follow with a "hello".  What a way to start dinner when those aren't even the rules.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, KeithJenner said:

It seems that they do sometimes say that.

 

The solution is just to order multiples anyway. They almost certainly wouldn’t have actually charged you.

My gut and my guess is they are told to do this to discourage people from ordering alot of food. I am going on the escape in a few weeks and I have 6 nights of dining reserved already and if this is a issue i will let you all know when i come back. I will be eating all the nights with party of 5 so we can do some serious damage ordering.

Edited by shout19661966

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8 minutes ago, dexddd said:

Yep, you sit down, they spout out limits, and might then follow with a "hello".  What a way to start dinner when those aren't even the rules.

I found out that some rules are followed to a T while others are made up. Sigh. 

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ithacagal

 

you mentioned this happened on the  NCL sun I have heard this ship has some different things going on compared to all the other ships could this had been the reason. Did you have the SDP or did you have a voucher or did you pay.

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I wonder if there is a difference if you actually pay or if you received it as a free perk when you booked or being platinum and above?

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2 hours ago, Elcruzer said:

I wonder if there is a difference if you actually pay or if you received it as a free perk when you booked or being platinum and above?

If you pay or receive the SDP as a promo it has the same T&Cs... regardless of your Latitude level

 

If you are a Latitude Platinum, you get a specific dinner perk that has different T&Cs than the SDP: https://www.ncl.com/latitudes-rewards-program (note #6 below describes it) 

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Considering you have paid $$$ to eat in a speciality restaurant, when your fare already includes a full service meal (unlimited starts, mains, deserts etc) in the MDR, for them to be restricting starters and deserts is quite frankly taking the michael! 

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18 hours ago, shout19661966 said:

ithacagal

 

you mentioned this happened on the  NCL sun I have heard this ship has some different things going on compared to all the other ships could this had been the reason. Did you have the SDP or did you have a voucher or did you pay.

No,it is not due to the ship.  Starting late 2015 you'd sit down, waiter would start with some variation of limits like one app, one dessert plus the entree or one above the entree area and one below.  This was with the included dining packages not Plat.  Then they might follow with a hello.

 

It was rarer then and some would say you were lying but it soon spread across the ships and more reports to today where it is common report.

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Interesting....I’ve never been told of any limits for the SDP.  And, I’ve sailed the Escape, GEM, and both “-Away” ships over the last couple of years.  I do think it must vary by ship and probably by the restaurant manager.

 

Then again, I never tried to order more than one entre, either.

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I would skip Cagneys and Moderno and do Ocean Blu multiple times but if you do Moderno pass on the first few meat selections, NCL saves the good stuff for last and hope you are too full to eat the quality meats at the end.

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